x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Oslo racetrack upgrade planned to attract top acts

Oslo’s new city council has revealed it plans to invest millions to upgrade an outdoor concert venue in a bid to entice leading international touring artists to Norway.

The Norwegian capital’s Bjerke Travbane racetrack welcomed a 60,000-cap show by Rammstein in July 2022, and the authority is setting aside NOK 5.3 million (€449,400) in next month’s revised budget for improvements to the site, with a target completion date of summer 2025.

VG reports that politicians were compelled to act after Stockholm’s Friends Arena in neighbouring Sweden was selected to host the three Scandinavian dates on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and decided that enhancing an existing venue would provide a fast and cost-effective option.

“For us, it has been important to get this in place, and quickly, because the city needs it,” says Hallstein Bjerck, city councillor for finance. “We will not stand by and watch Taylor Swift go to Stockholm, and not to Oslo.”

Bjerke Travbane general manager Hilde Apneseth says it would also be possible to stage concerts on a smaller scale at the outdoor venue, perhaps of around 30,000-capacity.

“We hope that there will be concerts several times during the year, especially in the period from mid-June to mid-August,” she adds.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke”

The move has been backed by All Things Live Norway‘s Peer Osmundsvaag, who says: “This will avoid many one-off costs, so you can lower the threshold. There are several Norwegian bands that can sell 20,000 tickets here. If you manage to do this, you can perhaps get between six and 10 concerts during a season.”

However, Live Nation Norway general manager Martin Nielsen sounds a note of caution, warning that many of the biggest acts will still prefer to play stadiums, both for financial and production reasons.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke,” he tells VG. “In a stadium, you can operate with several price ranges, preferably seven or eight different ones, and then sell the best seats at a higher price.

“In a flat area like Bjerke, you can at best have one slightly more expensive ‘golden circle’ near the stage, while the other tens of thousands become standing room with the same price for everyone. If you only have two ticket price levels, it will obviously be much more difficult to maximise income.”

Despite bringing Bruce Springsteen to Oslo for two nights last summer to 50,000-cap greenfield site Voldslokka, Nielsen warned in IQ‘s 2023 Global Promoters Report that a dearth of suitable venues for the largest productions was a major obstacle.

“A key issue is that we don’t have a big stadium in Norway,” he said. “A lot of the tours are built for stadiums, and they don’t want to play [in Norway] unless it’s a stadium.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

25 years of Øya Festival: ‘It’s been a fun ride’

Øya Festival chief Claes Olsen has looked back on the history of the event as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary this summer.

The 22,000-cap gathering, which is one of Norway’s leading festivals, will reach the milestone at Oslo’s Tøyen Park from 6-10 August, topped by  PJ Harvey, Pulp, Queens of the Stone Age, Gabrielle and Janelle Monáe.

Speaking to IQ, the Øya founder, owner and booker reveals that tickets are moving at an impressive pace.

“I think it’s the third best year ever at the moment, so I hope that we will be sold out.” says Olsen.

Since launching in 1999, Øya has hosted the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Cure, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, The Stone Roses, Björk, Kanye West and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

“Time flies,” says Olsen. “It’s crazy, but it’s been a long ride – a fun ride – and I don’t regret anything about it at all.”

“Everything was so strict in the 90s. If you listened to one kind of music, you couldn’t listen to another. There were so many unwritten rules”

Reflecting on the festival’s origins, Olsen says it was developed initially to help highlight the domestic live music sector, but has evolved its output through the years as the public’s musical preferences have become less tribal.

“We were friends running tiny, 100 to 300-cap venues in Oslo and saw this emerging scene of new artists that weren’t getting to play festivals in Norway,” he remembers. “There were very few festivals at that time and they were hard to get into for domestic acts, so the original idea was to showcase the scene.

“These acts would be selling 200-400 tickets each because it was a small market at that time, so we thought, ‘Okay, they’ll sell 300, they’ll sell 400, they’ll sell 500,’ and added it all up. But you can’t do that because it’s a lot of the same people buying tickets and the lineup was not that diverse.”

He continues: “There has been a slow evolution both of our own music tastes, and also the general perception of music. Especially in the 90s, everything was so strict: if you listened to one kind of music, you couldn’t listen to another, and there were so many unwritten rules at that time.

“That slowly changed for us, but part of the festival’s DNA is to still be part of the local music scene and so around 50% of acts playing the festival are still domestic. We’ve spent a lot of time booking them but also marketing them and putting in a lot of effort to keep them growing.”

“We had Sonic Youth as the headliner [in 2005] and that was a shift. After that, it became easier to book international artists”

Olsen regards the 2005 edition as a turning point in the festival’s history.

“We had Sonic Youth as the headliner, and that was a shift that got us more attention internationally,” he recalls. “After that, it became easier to book international artists, so 2005 was a particular highlight.”

Øya entered into an investment agreement with Superstruct Entertainment in 2018, with the festival’s senior leadership joining Superstruct’s management team. However, Olsen says it has largely been “business as usual” since the deal.

“I feel like everything we agreed upfront is what they are doing, so we have managed to retain that independent feeling, which is important for us,” he says. “We’re a group of people who are doing this for the love of the music.”

Alongside this year’s Thursday night headliner Monáe, other acts announced for the 2024 bill today include Jorja Smith, Jessie Ware (who performed her first ever show in Europe at Øya in 2008), Slowdive, Thee Sacred Souls and Seyi Vibez.

“You’ve got to be on your toes and deliver every year so that people keep coming back”

Olsen reveals a series of special events are also being lined up to mark the festival’s silver anniversary.

“In the first year, the festival was held in June, so we are going to do a couple of things in Oslo around the date in June, and then some special shows at the actual festival,” he says. “But most of the other stuff is business as usual – you’ve got to be on your toes and deliver every year so that people keep coming back.”

Week passes are priced at 4,169 NOK (approximately €355), while individual day tickets are 1,454 NOK (€124), while discounted weekly passes for 12 to 17-year-olds are already sold out for 2024. Organisers have also introduced premium Øya Pluss tickets, offering access to the guest area.

“We did it for the first time last year, instead of increasing the price of general admission tickets,” explains Olsen. “That has helped a bit, but of course costs are increasing a lot. So it’s not easy, but we have to work hard on other income streams.”

Olsen acknowledges, however, that being on the frontline in the Norwegian live business is far from straightforward at present – especially given the exchange rate.

“Since this is an anniversary year, we have tried to look backwards a little bit, but also be very current”

“It’s not been easy; it’s been really hard work,” he says. “We are in huge trouble with the Norwegian currency, so it’s super-cheap for people to come to Norway, but for us to book artists, paying in euros and dollars, is insane. Back in 2011, the dollar was 5 NOK and now it’s 11 NOK, so it’s more than doubled and that’s a significant change.

“Apart from that, we’re really happy with the programme; it’s very diverse. Since this is an anniversary year, we have tried to look backwards a little bit, but also be very current. That mix is super-important. It’s something that we have always done, but have maybe had a bit more focus on it this year.”

Øya has also maintained its commitment to gender equality, having achieved a 50/50 split between male and female artists on the bill since 2017.

“The first year where we had 50/50 on the headliners was 2010 when we had M.I.A. and Robyn,” he remembers. “It was hard but we had confidence about what was coming through and felt it would get easier. I think we have 56% female-led acts this year in the total, so it’s not a problem anymore at all.”

The festival’s sustainability efforts, meanwhile, have seen it honoured at both the European Festival Awards and A Greener Festival Awards. Examples of its environmentally responsible practices include running the event entirely free of fossil fuels, using renewable power for 98% of its requirements, and hand-sorting waste to ensure that 75% of it can be recycled.

“Our sustainability work is something we started back in 2004, so it’s actually the 20-year anniversary for that.” notes Olsen. “We try to push the boundaries of what’s achievable and be a frontrunner when it comes to sustainability, and also in a broader way with equality and being a safe space.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Norwegian trade body unveils new board

Norway’s trade association has unveiled its new board for the 2023-2024 period.

Márkomeannu festival director Ane Margrethe Ugelvik has been elected to the board of the Norwegian Cultural Organisers (NKA), alongside Jungelen founder and general manager Simon Alejandro Larsen. Bergen-based cultural organisation Jungelen stages club and concert series, as well as Jungelfest.

NKA has also welcomed three new deputies: Oslo Urban Week programme manager Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson, Tromsø International Film Festival boss Lisa Hoen and Trondheim Calling GM Eirik Brevik.

“It’s a good combination of new and old faces”

“It’s a good combination of new and old faces,” says NKA chair Trude Storheim. “There is a broadly composed board in terms of background, experience and competence, which is already enthusiastically getting started with the work. It bodes well for the important work the board is set to do.”

The new board members will succeed Marit Over-Rein Stokkenes, Sandra Márjá West, Åsa Paaske Gulbrandsen, Morten Wien and Runa Lunde Strindin.

Established in 1982, NKA’s international name is Norwegian Live. The Oslo-headquartered body represents more than 500 members, including festivals, clubs, venues, concert associations, student societies, libraries, museums and concert and cultural centres.

PHOTO (BACK L-R): Roza Aghili Taslimi, Lisa Hoen, Simon Alejandro Larsen, Trude Storheim, Ane Margrethe Ugelvik. (FRONT L-R): Runar Eggesvik, Per-Harald Nilsson, Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson, Gøran Aamodt

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Norway’s largest arena inks Ticketmaster deal

Norway’s largest arena has confirmed it has renewed its partnership with Ticketmaster Norway.

The 23,000-cap Telenor Arena has hosted acts such as The Weeknd, Post Malone, Depeche Mode and Robbie Williams in the past year alone, with Olivia Rodrigo lined up to perform in 2024.

Ticketmaster Norway will serve as the venue’s official ticketing partner, offering cutting-edge technology, marketing outreach and expertise.

“We are pleased to have Ticketmaster on our side – their innovative and robust solutions, extensive marketing reach and decades of expertise are essential to our success,” says Kjetil Bell Tveit, CEO at Telenor Arena. “We look forward to continuing working together to enhance the fan experience, both inside and outside the arena.”

“Together, we’re taking live entertainment in Norway to new heights”

Since opening in 2009, the venue has welcomed the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Adele, Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, AC/DC, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney and Jay-Z, as well as the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest.

“We are honoured to partner with the Norwegian cultural hub that is Telenor Arena,” says Kristian Seljeset, MD of Ticketmaster Norway. “Together, we’re taking live entertainment in Norway to new heights. It’s all about facilitating those unforgettable moments for fans at this iconic venue, and we can’t wait to get started.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Global Citizen Festival raises $240m in commitments

Global Citizen Festival has garnered $240 million in commitments from France and Norway to address the global hunger crisis.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Jung Kook of BTS headlined the festival on the Great Lawn of Central Park, in New York City, on Saturday (23 September).

The 2023 edition saw major progress in addressing the world’s worsening food insecurity crisis. Emmanuel Macron, president of France, announced via video message a $150m commitment to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – which marked the largest commitment to the fund by any government this year.

While, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Norway’s minister of international development, also pledged $90m to the fund.

Global Citizen is continuing to call on world leaders to increase their contributions to IFAD by at least 50% to ensure the agency reaches its funding target of $2 bn by the end of 2023.

“Climate change can’t hit pause while world leaders get their act together’

Tickets to Global Citizen Festival were free but attendees were required to join the organisation’s campaign to raise awareness about hunger, poverty, climate change and inequities facing women around the world, among other related concerns.

The event generated 3.3 million actions taken by global citizens around the world.

“At a time when some leaders are walking back their promises, your actions deliver impact,” says Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO, Global Citizen. “So don’t stop taking action. Climate change can’t hit pause while world leaders get their act together. So don’t stop. The poorest people on Earth don’t have decades to spare. So don’t stop. We can’t wait for someone else to take action. We have to take action now.”

Global Citizen Festival also included a tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop which featured surprise performances from Busta Rhymes, Common, Big Daddy Kane and Rapsody alongside D-Nice.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Skyrocketing prices wipe out Norwegian festivals

Several mid-sized Norwegian festivals have cancelled their 2023 editions due to “skyrocketing” costs, with some axed indefinitely.

Beitostølen Live, a two-day festival that takes place at the base of the Jotunheimen mountains in southern Norway, is the latest victim.

“It is with a heavy heart that Beitostølen Live saw no other way out than to announce a tender,” reads a statement on the festival’s website. “After difficult years of pandemic and war in Europe, our festival concept, the public’s buying habits and the industry in general have changed significantly. With increasing competition, rising prices, demands for advance payment at all stages, failing ticket sales both this year and last year, less sponsorship income and the absence of public financial support, the math unfortunately does not add up.”

Launched in 2019, the festival has seen performances from Sting, Bonnie Tyler and Wyclef Jean.

Elsewhere, Kadetten – a hip-hop festival launched in 2022 that featured Megan Thee Stallion, Central Cee and Burna Boy – cancelled its 2023 edition earlier this year.

“Our festival concept, the public’s buying habits and the industry in general have changed significantly”

“The cancellation comes solely from the costs of the artists and availability in 2023,” wrote Kadetten organisers. “The prices of everything have skyrocketed, in addition, the predictability for American artists has become a logistical nightmare with flights etc.”

Other festivals that will not return in 2023 include the 19-year-old Skral in Grimstad, Oslo Americana (and its sister events in Sweden) and Festival Imperium.

Siri Haugan Holden, general manager of Norwegian Culture Organizers (NKA) says that with rising costs and increased competition it’s not surprising that more organisers see themselves having to cancel.

She goes on to say that the market has sharpened and the association is seeing a greater divide where the big organisers with significant financial muscle are pulling away from the rest.

“The fact that the public is not quite back to the same level as before the pandemic makes it difficult for the organisers to raise the prices as much as the costs rise,” said Holden. “This has put the organisers in a difficult situation, where they may eventually have to cancel.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Springsteen’s Oslo concerts to be battery powered

Live Nation Norway will introduce electricity from mobile batteries for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming concerts in Oslo, Norway.

Springsteen and The E Street Band are due to play two concerts at Voldsløkka (cap. 40,000) on 30 June and 2 July.

Thanks to a new partnership between LN Norway and Norwegian renewable energy and technology company Eviny, the gigs will use electricity from mobile batteries – thereby significantly reducing the use of diesel generators.

Live Nation Norway festivals Tons of Rock and the newly launched Vaulen Open Air will also benefit from the introduction of Eviny’s batteries.

“At Live Nation Norway, we are taking the lead in finding new, emission-free solutions”

Eviny has been producing clean renewable energy from hydropower for over 100 years and is now investing in mobile batteries and energy solutions to slash emissions within Norway’s live music scene.

The partnership sees the promoter take a step closer to decarbonising its festivals’ energy sources, seven years ahead of the original goal date of 2030.

“At Live Nation Norway, we are taking the lead in finding new, emission-free solutions,” says Martin Nielsen, head promoter in Live Nation Norway. “Eviny will now become an energy partner where the goal is to take action and make a difference to pave the way for a more sustainable live music scene both nationally and globally.”

Marit Meland, business developer at Eviny, adds: “We see a huge interest from several industries that are moving full speed ahead into the green shift. We see more and more interest from markets where there is a temporary need for electricity. The live music scene is a part of this, both when it comes to concerts and other types of events.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

All Things Live continues acquisition spree in Norway

All Things Live is strengthening its foothold in Norway with the acquisition of Oslo-based event agency All-In.

The deal comes weeks after All Things Live purchased one of Norway’s largest independent festival organisers, HES.

The group’s Norwegian business already spans booking, promotion, events, comedy and festival activities via subsidiaries Stageway, Komon Stageway, Latter and Stand Up Norge.

All-In was founded in 2017 by Jens Nesse, Jan Fredrik Karlsen and Petter Stordalen and now employs 10 people to work with corporate events, concerts and conferences for Norwegian and international customers.

In 2022, All-In had revenues of NOK 133 million (€9.9m) and NOK 15 million (€1.3m) in profits.

“We are proud of what we have achieved in All-In,” says Jens Nesse, co-founder and CEO of All-In. “After founding the company in 2017, the business has grown to become what we dreamt of. Becoming part of a family as ambitious as All Things Live will provide us with even more fuel to accelerate in the coming years.”

“We will gain a stronger foothold in an important market, enabling us to create even more unique experiences”

“We have found everything we were looking for in All Things Live. Loads of experience, great enthusiasm and a wide range of competencies. It is a powerful team with great resources within our field. What is not to like?” adds co-founder of All-In, Jens Fredrik Karlsen.

Gry Mølleskog, CEO of All Things Live Norway and the All Things Live Group: “The acquisition of All-In strengthens All Things Live’s position in the event market in Norway. In combination with our ownership of Komon-Stageway, we will gain a stronger foothold in an important market, enabling us to create even more unique experiences for our customers.

“The competencies in these two great event companies combined with the strong teams in Latter and Stand Up Norge, Komon-Stageway and HES will make All Things Live an even more attractive partner in the Norwegian event industry.”

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Agents After All (the Netherlands), Musickness (Belgium), Radar Concerti (Italy) and Amaze Festival (Sweden), alongside HES and All-In.

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

All Things Live buys Norwegian promoter HES

All Things Live has acquired one of the largest independent festival organisers in Norway, HES.

Founded in 2010, the Oslo-based company is a full-service provider of festival organisation and operations.

HESs 13-strong team is involved in festivals including Verket, Drøbakfestivalen, Hvalstrandfestivalen, Sarpsborgfestivalen, Lillehammer Live and Haikjeften, as well as music venue Verket Scene.

The acquisition sees All Things Live’s footprint in Norway expand to cover booking, promotion, events, comedy and festival activities via subsidiaries Stageway, Komon Stageway, Latter and Stand Up Norge.

“The HES team has built a strong business with clear growth prospects on the back of proven capabilities within festival organisation and operations,” says Gry Mølleskog, CEO of All Things Live Group.

“Since 2010, the team has established several successful festivals entertaining thousands of people every year, and we are pleased to welcome HES as part of All Things Live in Norway with a view to developing the business and accelerating the positive developments in the years ahead.”

“The HES team has built a strong business with clear growth prospects”

The management team – consisting of CEO Hans Petter Haaland and head of market Erle Strøm – and the organisation of HES remain unchanged, and existing contracts and customer relationships are not affected by the transaction. The current owners of HES become partners and co-owners of All Things Live.

“We are thrilled to team up with All Things Live and look forward to collaborating closely with a leading and respected European live entertainment player to build on our successes in Norway and create even greater live experiences for our audiences together,” says Hans Petter Haaland, CEO of HES.

“For more than a decade, we have organized and run more than 50 festivals and promoted many of Scandinavia’s best artists, and we will continue to do so with an even stronger organization as part of the All Things Live partnership.”

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Agents After All (the Netherlands), Musickness (Belgium), Radar Concerti (Italy) and Amaze Festival (Sweden).

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

2023 lineups: Øya, Flow, Hurricane & Southside

Øya (NO), Flow (FI), Hurricane & Southside (DE), Paaspop (NL) and Welcome To Rockville (US) are the latest festivals to beef-up their 2023 festival line-ups.

Norway’s Øya festival has detailed its gender-balanced line-up for 2023, which includes Sigrid, FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Amyl and the Sniffers, Devo, Håkan Hellstrom, Shygirl and TV Girl.

The Superstruct-backed festival, which will return to Oslo’s Tøyenparken between 8–12 August, will once again put sustainability at the forefront of its operation.

The site operates free of fossil fuels, with 98% of its power being renewable and all construction machinery is run on biofuel.

That approach is also applied to everything from recycling (75% of all waste is recycled, having been sorted by hand) to travel (98% of attendees arrive by bike, foot or public transport).

The Øya site operates free of fossil fuels, with 98% of its power being renewable

Superstruct’s Flow Festival has also revealed the first acts for next year’s edition in Helsinki, Finland, between 11 and 13 August.

FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Suede, Devo, Amyl & The Sniffers, Shygirl, Jockstrap, 070 Shake and more will perform at the culture, music, arts and debate festival in the post-industrial area of Suvilahti.

In Germany, the 2023 editions of FKP Scorpio’s flagship festivals, Hurricane and Southside, are beginning to take shape.

Billy Talent, Muse, Die Ärzte, Kraftklub, Placebo, Casper, Peter Fox and Queens Of The Stone Age will top the bill for the twin events, which this year sold-out and attracted 150,000 attendees.

Southside and Hurricane will return to Neuhausen ob Eck and the Eichenring motorcycle speedway in Scheessel, respectively, between 16 to 18 June 2023.

Danny Wimmer Presents unveiled the line-up for its longest-running annual festival

In neighbouring country, the Netherlands, The Event Warehouse is putting the final touches on Paaspop 2023.

Limp Bizkit today (15 December) joined next year’s line-up which already included 90 names including Antoon, Armin van Buuren, Calum Scott and Danny Vera.

Davina Michelle, De Staat, dEUS, DI-Rect, Flemming, George Ezra, Goldband, Reinier Zonneveld, Rondé, S10, Son Mieux and Triggerfinger are also lined up for the festival, scheduled for 7–9 April 2023 at De Molenheide in Schijndel.

Also today, Danny Wimmer Presents unveiled the line-up for its longest-running annual festival, Welcome To Rockville (US).

Tool, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Pantera, Deftones, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Queens of the Stone Age, Evanescence and Incubus are the first name to be announced for the 12th edition.

The event will return to Daytona International Speedway In Daytona Beach, Florida, between 18–21 May 2023. This year’s edition brought together 150,000 fans.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.